Back from this weeks trip to the comic shop and I got one new comic and a trade paperback.

  • The Comic – Samurai Heaven and Earth Vol 2 – No 4
  • The TPB – Michael Morcock’s Elric “The Masking of a Sorcerer”
  • I’ll let you know how the Elric book is next week. Meanwhile here is some recent stuff I read.

  • Jack Kirby’s “Silver Star”
  • I’m a bit odd among comic fans. My favorite work by Jack Kirby isn’t his Fantastic Four, Challengers of the Unknown, Fourth World, or Captain America stuff. It’s his Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers from the early Eighties. I think that’s his best work because its is so filled with ideas that it’s bursting at the seams. I also think Kirby is a good writer. I disagree with the common notion that his work is stronger when someone else scripts it. I prefer Kirby’s writing, in general, to Stan Lee’s. So it’s a wonder that I’ve never read “Silver Star” his other early Eighties work and I’m glad Image comics choose to collect it all in a new hardcover collection.

    Silver Star is the lead character in the book. Some time before he was born Silver Star’s father decided that there was a good chance that mankind was going to be wiped out by a nuclear war. So Silver Star’s father created a “genetic package” that could be delivered to babies in the womb that would make them into “homo-geneticus”. The next breed of humans who could survive after we’ve gone.

    Silver Star’s father gave this “genetic package” to more babies than his own and now most of them have grown up. And most of them are good but one is particularly nasty and wants to kill the rest. Especially Silver Star. Oh, and the nuclear war never happened so the world goes on as usual.

    It’s not easily boiling this series down to a couple of paragraphs. They are a lot of strange super powers thrown around that have as much to do with perception as with traditional super powers. There is a fair amount physical conflict but also a lot of philosophical conflict. This is what I like about this series. The characters discuss their ideas and the ramifications of those ideas. All the while acting and being faced with unforeseen consequences. It’s simple and complex all at the same time as with a lot of Jack Kirby’s later work.

    I could spend all day talking about the wild ideas in this book. Such as that all the “super normals” (as those given the “genetic package” are called) can go to an alternate space called “elsewhere” where they make all the rules. This is the kind of stuff that, at Marvel and DC, Kirby would make up and move on from and then other writers would spend years exploring the minutiae of. The entire DC Universe came to be based on Kirby’s Fourth World books and Marvel’s (to a lesser extent) on his Eternals. But I digress. If you like your comics to be the same old some old or “modern” (like there’s a difference) than this book isn’t for you. Buy if you enjoy the unfamiliar and the novel (even after all these years) check out “Silver Star”. Recommended.

  • “The Fall” by Ed Brubaker and Jason Lutes
  • Here is another comic I pulled of of my shelves to give another read too. It originally ran sometime in the late Nineties in the pages of “Dark Horse Comic Presents” but it is the 2001 printing by Drawn and Quarterly that I am reading here. It’s about 44 pages.

    I remember this story being a standout when it ran in DHP. I haven’t read it since I bought this 2001 printing but it’s still a standout. “The Fall” is a mystery story of the type I wish they were more of in comics. It’s all about a normal guy who finds a purse buried in an acquaintance’s yard and gets interested in it’s contents so he starts trying to find things out about it’s owner. Thus starts the mystery.

    The characters are everyday people and I find that they ring true. The pacing is good as the mystery unfolds. Even though I’ve read this before and know the answers to the mystery it is such a well crafted story that it holds up well. This is my favorite piece of writing by Ed Brubaker and I’m also a fan of Jason Lute’s work in general like his current series “Berlin”. You definitely can’t go wrong with this comic if you can find it. Recommended.